A Continuation of my Listserve

Hey all! If you’re here, then you probably read my Listserve email, or you’re one of the regular 7 readers I have on a daily basis. If you’re the former, then welcome! If you’re the latter, thank you for your continued support, but most of you are all related to me in one way or another and know my life story. So, this is really for the people coming in for the first time.

If you’ve ever won the Listserve, than you know what it’s like to get that celebratory gleam in your eye when you open your inbox to find the “undefined – you’ve won’ from Zena Koo (who, just seems really cool, btw!), then it’s followed by the panicky “holy shit, what should I write?” – “why didn’t I do this a long time ago?” – “I’m gonna come across like an idiot!!”

The 48 hour crunch

Well, I spent the last 48 hours thinking….literally almost every moment. Now, that’s not necessarily different from any other day. I genuinely like to think, but during working hours it’s for clients, and during off hours it’s for myself, not about myself. That usually happens in spurts when I meditate for four minutes, or when I’m driving and nostalgically thinking about my past or ex-girlfriends or something along those lines. But for (almost) 48 hours, I thought about how I could summarize my life in less than 600 words. Or how I could take a really cool moment from my life and turn it into a parable that got across a life lesson that I wanted everyone to magically realize. And I failed…horribly.

I ended up writing about something that I think is interesting – context awareness – I’m not going to regurgitate what I said, but you will see a lot more of context aware design in the websites that we visit, the apps that we love, and the web as a whole to give us (the users) a better experience. Look out for it. But what I’d like to do in this post is just give you a little more background on me, my life, and why it was hard to summarize in 600 words (as I’m sure needs no explanation because everyones’ lives are hard to summarize in 600 words!). But I also want to let everyone know that I meant what I said, reach out, let’s talk. It might take me a while to get back to people, but I like personalized experiences and I like people.

My Life in Under 600 Words…

People have told me that I’ve had an interesting life, an exciting one. But I’m not sure I feel that way. I was born and raised in New England, in a small somewhat coastal but a little more inland mill town with the population of about 30,000. Childhood was cool, high school was….well, high school. But when I graduated, I moved to Hollywood to become a rockstar.  I imagined that to be a little easier than it actually was. Going to auditions, finding musicians who lined up with our style (I went out there with my best friend/lead guitarist) was a grind! And then I got caught up in that whole ‘survival’ thing where you actually had to make money to pay for rent and eat, ha!

Throughout the first 8 years after high school, Hollywood was kind of like a homebase for me, but I ended up driving all over the place. I’ve driven across the country probably close to 20 times. Taken the 70, 80, 90, 40, 15 heading to Vegas, the 10 heading to LA, the 5 heading away from it. I’ve driven through blizzards in Colorado and hailstorms in Kansas. Seen the tumbleweeds of Texas and the colorful canyons of Utah. Stopped at the Grand Canyon one time; Manhattan is gorgeous at 3 in the morning. Pennsylvania took 6 hours, parts of Maryland 6 minutes. And all that time on the road in my early to mid 20’s, I felt as long as I was physically moving, I was progressing in life when I was really just running away from it.

Habitations and the towns we know…

I’ve lived in L.A., Montreal, Dorchester (Boston), smalltown Connecticut, have had extended stays in Colorado, Mexico, and San Francisco (that city has character!). I’m currently roaming in and around Providence, RI. I love this city, it’s small, but has a big feel to it, hip and historic, and inhabits some of the coolest people I’ve met on earth.

I’ve primarily worked in 3 main industries: sales, construction, and technology. But I did a 3 month stint as a garbage man (hated that gig!), drove limos in L.A. for about two months (traffic sucked!), and waited tables for a summer (where I saw the best and worst of people). I used to race motorcycles (not professionally), I had an interesting conversation with Matt Damon one time (which I’m sure he doesn’t remember), and I had an up close and personal encounter with the biggest elk I’ve ever seen (you thought I was going to say aliens, right?). I guess I haven’t lived an uninteresting life, but I’m not sure I would call it all that interesting, it’s just been my life.

The quiet period…

Nowadays, I sit behind a computer, I’m a strategist in the technology space. It’s kind of a catch-all title for people who like to talk and speak their minds. But my clients seem to like me and I do help them solve problems from time to time. I also do a lot of volunteer work with The United Way of Rhode Island’s Young Leaders Circle. Awesome group of professionals, join us if you’re in the area!

My days are much quieter now. But when I look back at my twenties, the only memories I seem to latch onto are the ones where I almost died and berms were involved:

  • Stranded in Colorado miles from the nearest town, almost got trampled by a stampede of angry cattle at 4 in the morning in the pitch dark crouched somewhere against a berm.
  • Somersaulted a motorcycle on a canyon road going about 70 mph because I was young, a risk-taker, and didn’t understand the physics of centrifugal force. Got stopped by a berm.
  • Flipped my truck on the 5 freeway heading up the grapevine in a rainstorm. I hydroplaned, which is an interesting thing to experience, hit a berm in a such a way that it actually catapulted the truck and flipped in mid air. Walked away without a scratch.
  • Got caught in a construction fire in a warehouse that made race-car bolts, everything seemed to be coated in oil and the sheetrocked offices lit up like a Christmas tree. No one got hurt and no berm involved.

They say you’ll remember the moments you have between the ages of 12 and 30 when you get older. Whoops, I’m 35 and these are the things I remember. I’d like to think that I have cooler experiences yet to come. And that’s on me, there’s something that I need to start doing again, which is living. It seems like lately I’ve traded that for a really good career and I’m not entirely sure that’s what I want. I want to meet cool people and grow and contribute and laugh and learn. But who has the time for that now?

My words of wisdom…

I’m not sure if I’m ever headed in the right direction. My life wasn’t the standard life of graduating high school, going to college, getting a degree, finding a good job, getting married, having kids, and saving for retirement. I just went for something, a dream, it didn’t happen but that’s ok. And as time has gone on, I feel like my dreams changed a little. I also feel like we live in a society that puts too much emphasis on doing the traditional, so here’s what I’ll say. Just go do something. I don’t care what it is as long as you’re not hurting yourself or someone else, just do something. I’ll leave you with a quote that I always use around the New Year by Neil Gaiman:

“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.”

Again, don’t be afraid to reach out, I feel like some of the best friends I have I only connect with electronically.

  • Twitter: ajmatic
  • Snapchat: ajmatic
  • Instagram: adamlamagna
  • Linkedin: Adam Lamagna
  • Facebook: is usually reserved for my closest 500 friends, but if we connect on other channels first, then that’s cool!

Anyways, thanks for taking the time! Have an awesome day and go have fun doing something!!

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